In the wake of Brazil’s earth shattering exit at the hands of Germany on Tuesday, across Brazil the drums were silenced and the only music to be heard was the reverberating false notes sounded by those advertising campaigns that persisted with the now impossible imaginings of a gold-and-green dream of Brazilian triumph.

One brand stood out because it had dared to dream of failure and had prepared accordingly. In the immediate aftermath of defeat, queasy Brazilian TV viewers were presented with the latest instalment in Sadia’s #tamojuntinho campaign, which loosely translates as ‘we are with you’. This version optimistically looked to the future, showing children like the ones captured crying in the Estadio Mineirao, but children too young to remember Brazil’s last triumph in 2002 and young enough to hope and dream for the chance to see Brazil as champions once again, one day soon in their – and the nation’s – future. The voiceover intoned:

“We couldn’t get the title now, but these young supporters will have their whole life ahead of them to see Brazil get to the sixth, seventh and the eighth. Those with a child’s soul, don’t mind waiting”

This was advertising from an official team sponsor brave enough to capitalise on the country’s lowest moment and attempt to offer a soothing balm to Brazil’s pain in the process. In effect it was the marketing equivalent of Seleção coach Phil Scolari’s posthumous, post-match on-pitch group huddle, but arguably much more successful.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a Brazilian brand try to capitalise upon crisis with a reactive campaign. Last year, we saw Menswear label Reserva create an advert from CCTV footage at its São Paulo store, which used the tagline “There’s no need to break the store window. Just get in” to illustrate how desirable its clothes were.

Both examples are part of a growing marketing trend, where brands show a human face, stop ignoring the elephant in the room and turn negative buzz into positive PR. At Mintel we call this ‘Accentuate the Negative’ and we’ve found that the science behind this approach shows that a bit of negativity goes a long way.

Management consultancy firm Peppers & Rogers argue against “spotless” websites for instance, saying that “a negative review on a product website actually has a higher physical connection with a sale than a positive one.” Studies from Stanford Graduate School of Business and Tel Aviv University meanwhile have shown more favourable reactions to products from consumers when they received positive plus minor negative information rather than exclusively positive information.

When applied to the world of marketing and PR, this suggests that campaigns are opportunities to project values of honesty, humanity and fallibility, rather than simple ‘adverts’. The arm around the shoulder, brand-as-friend element of this also saw GBK restaurants offering consolatory free hamburgers to anyone presenting a Brazilian passport.

It might be more difficult to soothe corporate sponsors and more than ever, Brazilians will be questioning and counting the emotional – as well as the economic – cost of hosting the tournament, but the Olympics is next and Brazil must smile on in the spotlight. Mintel’s research suggests that in the long-term it will be worth doing so, because this World Cup has already made 13% of UK consumers interested in visiting the country and 9% interested in trying out food and or drink from Brazil.

Brazilians and brands alike can take stock and take courage from a certain 1950s Rogers and Hammerstein show tune adopted by Liverpool FC:

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown

If you would like to know what these trends – and others – mean for your business please contact Richard to discuss our trend presentation, project and facilitation services.  E-mail: rcope@mintel.com;  Twitter: @Richard_Mintel

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